What I'm Reading Now: 12 July 09

In the woods-- Tana French
Wildcard-- Ken McClure (medical thriller)
Gone missing-- Linda Castillo
XO-- Jeffery Deaver
Bad faith-- Robert Tanenbaum

Three kids go to play In the woods near their home in Ireland, as they always do, on a summer afternoon. Late that night, one of them is found, shoes soaked with blood, clinging to a tree. The other two are never seen again... Fast forward twenty-odd years, and that found little boy is grown up, a police officer, and hiding from his past. But then a little girl goes missing from his old hometown, and when she's found, she's dead. Detective Adam Ryan and his partner Cassie Maddox take on the case, and the two stories criss-cross, then intersect with devastating results. As Ryan himself tells us, early on, "I crave truth. And I lie." When these two things meet, life as Ryan knows it is blown apart. French's writing is lyrical, brilliant, and frightening... and truly gripping. I've been known to put down books when it becomes apparent that things will end badly, but with In the woods, I knew that  from the first few pages, and I couldn't stop reading if I wanted to. I immediately requested her next book, which has Cassie as the protagonist, and I may well be re-reading Faithful Place (reviewed here) before her next book comes out at the end of July.

A man on a flight to England from a small African republic dies horribly of what looks like Ebola virus. The outbreak is contained, and the public  and the National Health Service relaxes... until tests show that it's a previously unknown virus, and there are no outbreaks of any such virus in the areas where the victim traveled. Then a second woman dies of the same virus, in another town entirely, who has had no contact with this outbreak. More wildcard outbreaks show up across the United Kingdom, and Steven Dunbar, an investigator with the SciMed bureau, has only a short time to find and isolate the cause of the outbreaks before the world will be overtaken by an epidemic bigger than the Black Death. Wildcard is tightly plotted and written, and McClure doesn't shy away from killing off important characters. It was a good way to spend a few hours, but I'm not sure I'll go hunting for more of his books just yet.

Sheriff Kate Burkholder, excommunicated and formerly Amish, is called in to consult on a series of disappearances of Amish teenagers. Three girls have Gone missing over the last two years, and when one is found dead and another vanishes, Kate struggles to break through the reserve of the Amish families to find out enough about their children to try to find out what happened to them. Again, Castillo's Kate is intriguing, using her background and her baggage to work through both the case and her relationship with investigator John Tomasetti. (Reviews of the previous Linda Castillo titles here, here, and here.)

Kayleigh Towne is riding high in her career as a country singer, but her fame has attracted some highly unwelcome attention, in the form of a fan who believes her form-letter replies to his emails are both coded messages of undying love and desperate pleas for rescue from her entourage. Edwin's attentions are unnerving her, and when the head of her road crew is murdered, Kayleigh's friend Katherine Dance, a CBI agent, offers to help. It quickly becomes clear that whoever or whatever has Kayleigh in his/her sights is very clever, and the easy solutions will be less than useless. As always, Deaver crafts a twisty plot, and just when you think everything's been neatly wrapped up, you realize that there are too many pages left in the book, and that your understanding of what's been going on is about to take a swift and unexpected turn. XO is one of Deaver's better books, and comes with my high recommendations.

Where do you draw the line between freedom of religion and legal responsibility... say, for example, when parents' belief in faith healing conflicts with their child's evident need for medical intervention? Butch Karp, DA for New York City, knows where he draws the line, and has no compunction about charging parents David and Nonie Ellis with reckless manslaughter in the death of their son in Bad faith. The Ellis' spiritual advisor and his followers protest this with vigor, but are they hiding something behind their claims of constitutional rights? The answer, of course, is yes, and Tanenbaum takes you on a wild ride through New York and Memphis, while running a side-plot about terrorists, revenge, and the people who live underground in the subway tunnels. I enjoyed Bad faith, but I think Tanenbaum has fallen a little too much in love with some of his recurring villians and side-stories. The whole Mole People subplot strains my suspension-of-disbelief just a little too much, and, frankly, I'm a little tired of his endless terrorists. I suspect both will be making appearances in subsequent novels-- he does appear to be setting something up-- and I'm not sure I'm interested enough to find out what the denoument will be. I do, however, recommend earlier titles in the series... up to about 2005, with Hoax. That gives you fourteen or fifteen  titles, which is quite reasonable.

how to make good southern BBQ

I was discussing with some friends how I make BBQ and why I do it the way I do. So I put together some of the resources I've found and thought I'd share it with you as well.

It's not hard to do, but it does take time, lots of time.

Good Eats:
Early show that covers the science. And rubs. Not BBQ, but good info about pork.

Pulled pork.

how to make a smoker with nothing.

All about smoking with various tools. pulled pork and ribs.

Dry Rub:
8 tablespoons light brown sugar, tightly packed
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon jalapeno seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon rubbed thyme
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

shug makes BBQ for a grad party.

95 lbs of pork on a very large smoker. good pics of how it's built. also weird drunk women doing the chicken dance near the end.

Lexington Style Carolina Barbecue Sauce
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/8? teaspoon? red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon sugar
Combine all ingredients plus 1/2 cup water in saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer and stir until sugar is dissolved. Cool and serve on cooked meat.

Two great events coming up

Eden Tractor Trek on July 21, 2012

Once again the Eden Foundation is having a tractor trek to raise funds in support of the Eden Mental Health Centre. Armin Ens is organizing this great event and the day will start with a breakfast in the Community Centre in Reinland.

Breakfast will be from 7:30am until 10am when the opening ceremonies will start for the trekkers. Breakfast fees are by donation.

Registration for the trekkers will open at 8am.

Golf Tournament July 24, 2012

17th Annual Reinland golf tournament will be held at the Walhala golf club with prizes awarded in Reinland at the Community Centre after the tournament is completed. Last years tournament caught us offguard with the changed border crossing rules, but we were able to make things work. this year we have planned ahead and look forward to a great outing.

Sign up for the Golf Tournament here


What I'm Reading Now: 12 July 02

No mark upon her - Deborah Crombie

So, not much reading this week, due to the usual reason, namely, "life is what happens while you're making other plans." However, this week, I'm taking some vacation time. Granted, I've got a few commitments, and I'm hoping to take on a project a day, but one of these projects is "do nothing until I'm tired of it." (I don't expect I'll get it done that day, but one has to have a goal.) And by doing nothing, I mean sitting and reading, preferably while snuggling a cat. I have a few new books from the library that I've been looking forward to, a few from the book sale I haven't gotten to yet, and right now I feel like the reading world is my oyster, and someone's just handed me an oyster knife and pail...

In No mark upon her, Gemma James and Duncan Kincaid are now freshly married (for the third time within months) and working out how to balance their blended family, including their new foster daughter, with the demands of their careers. Both James and Kincaid are police officers, with positions that don't mesh well with a regular schedule and stable family life, but they think they can manage until a senior officer is found drowned in the Thames. While Kincaid is investigating her life as a police officer and as an Olympic-calibre athlete, James is running her own unrelated investigation, a series of rape complaints. As always, Crombie's plots are twisty and well-thought-out, and her characters (both returning and new) are fascinating. This was very good, and I'd recommend keeping an eye out for all the James and Kincaid mysteries.